Shohei Imamura had perhaps more than any other Japanese director, and this is saying a HELLUVA lot considering pretty much all Japanese directors are wizards at shot construction, the most intuitively brilliant flare for shot construction. This gives his films, which usually deal with difficult social subjects, a haunting precision. But it's not merely observe and record. His films have a certain attentive care for the characters, and in the process oddly moving scenes are captured. Think about the premise of this film. A small-town family doctor rushing back and forth between different cases of hepatitis during the end of the Second World War. What could possibly be endearing or moving in that? Well, Dr. Akagi, played beautifully by Akira Emoto, is followed by the camera sparingly along with all of the other town characters. The moments that are captured are filled with wonderful pathos. We see Dr. Akagi sweating and huffing down the streets past soldiers and workers, carrying his medical kit and stopping every once and a while for a quick breather. We see the same Dr. Akagi attend to a Dutch soldier beaten and wounded by torture. We see him in front of a commission of doctors, pleading for a crusade against the rising cases in hepatitis. And then we see odder things like Dr. Akagi going on a boat with the ex-prostitute so that she can catch a whale for him. It's all of these episodes, whether odd or obviously reassuring, all come together with savage synthesis only Imamura was capable of. I loved this movie.